This book brings together recent work by Maurice Bloch which explores the highly controversial territory between the cognitive and social sciences. The essays are of broad, theoretical interest and aim to combine naturalistic approaches to cognition with a recognition and respect for the cultural and historical specificity of ethnography. All the essays illustrate Bloch's characteristic approach to the relation between anthropology and cognitive science, where cognitive science is used to criticize anthropological assumptions concerning such key topics as religion, kinship, belief, ritual, symbolism and art.
Table of Contents
Questions not to ask of Malagasy carvings * Why trees are good to think with * A well-disposed anthropologists' problem with memes * Kinship and evolved psychological dispositions * An understanding of what is passed on from parents * Are religious beliefs counterintuitive? * Introduction to "Political language and oratory" * The reception of Levi-Strauss in Great Britain * On deference * Where did anthropology go?
Maurice Bloch is Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. He is author and editor of numerous works in Anthropology, including Ritual, History and Power.